The remains of a soldier killed in the Korean War and posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor will be laid to rest in Georgia, 73 years after his death.
Army Cpl. Luther H. Story “displayed conspicuous bravery” during a large-scale attack by the North Korean People’s Army near the Naktong River in South Korea on September 1, 1950, according to a joint statement from The White House and The Republic of Korea.
When he was last seen, Story, 19, a member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was firing every weapon available to protect his comrades, despite being wounded himself, so his team could advance to the next position and escape further fire, according to the National Medal of Honor Museum.
“Story distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action,” the National Medal of Honor Museum said. “Story’s extraordinary heroism, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and were in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the military service.”
On June 21, 1951, Gen. Omar Bradley gave Story’s Medal of Honor to his father, Mark Story, at a ceremony at the Pentagon, according to the National Medal of Honor Museum.
In the months following the combat, Story’s remains could not be found or identified and he was not recorded as a prisoner of war, the joint statement said. In 1954, Story was declared unrecoverable.
More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to the Army. It is estimated more than 81,500 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars and other conflicts combined, according to The US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
In October 1950, 11 sets of remains were recovered near Sangde-po, South Korea, and eight were identified. One set, labeled X-260 Tanggok, was thought to be Story, but investigators did not have enough data to positively identify the remains, according to the agency.
The unidentified remains were transported and buried as Unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the agency said.
In July 2018, the agency disinterred 652 Korean War Unknowns from the Punchbowl and in the third phase, the agency disinterred X-260 and sent the remains to its laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for analysis, the agency said.
Scientists used dental and anthropological analysis and mitochondrial DNA to identify Story, the agency said.
On April 26 President Joe Biden announced the discovery joined by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
“Today, we can return him (Story) to his family and to his rest, with all the honors he deserves, because we never forget our heroes,” Biden said in April.
For decades, Story’s family wondered about his whereabouts and believed he would never be found, Judy Wade, Story’s niece and closest surviving relative told The Associated Press. Wade’s mother was Story’s younger sister.
“I don’t have to worry about him anymore,” Wade said. “I’m just glad he’s home.”
Story will be buried at Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia and will receive full military burial honors, according to his obituary.